Ludwig van Beethoven: His Life and His Work in Pictures

Ludwig van Beethoven: His Life and His Work in Pictures

Ludwig van Beethoven: His Life and His Work in Pictures

Ludwig van Beethoven: His Life and His Work in Pictures

Excerpt

The book which I present to the public herewith is part of a series of iconographies which I have been editing for more than twenty years. They are concerned with the great masters of music.

Just as the preceding works such as "The Life of Franz Liszt in Pictures", "Life and Work of Richard Wagner in Pictures", "Life and Work of W. A. Mozart in Pictures", and "Life of Chopin in Pictures" began with a brief biographical survey, so does this book, the fifth of the series. The survey serves as a guide to those wishing to study the 200 pages of documents compiled here. My labor consisted chiefly of the collection of the approximately 550 portraits, engravings and documents of various sorts. Their juxtaposition in one volume reflects the agitated and tragic life of Beethoven, from his birth in Bonn, in 1770, to his demise in Vienna fifty-seven years later.

This important pictorial material is ordered chronologically. The reproductions carry commentaries. The biography achieved by such a compilation is divided into chapters with titles and subtitles corresponding to the chief periods of the composer's life.

Of the portraits of Beethoven and members of his family, those whose authenticity is doubtful are eliminated. This holds true particularly for the apocryphal portraits of his parents and for the miniature supposedly representing Ludwig van Beethoven and ascribed to the painter Gerhard Kügelgen. Furthermore, I have confined the material to the portraits created during the composer's lifetime or signed by artists who knew the master personally. Therefore one should not look for any of those innumerable pictures, medals or sculptures made long after his death. On the other hand, despite patient research I did not always succeed in obtaining the portraits of relatives, friends or interpreters whose inclusion would have been interesting. I am referring principally to Karl van Beethoven, the master's brother, Zmeskall, his faithful friend, and several others. Yet I was fortunate enough to rediscover a portrait of the violinist Karl Holz who for a . . .

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